Thyroid Patients Speak: Thyroid Hormone Replacement

Mary Shomon | Nov 15, 2017

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No one type or brand of thyroid hormone replacement drug is best for everyone. Instead, it’s often a trial-and-error process to discover the treatment that safely and best resolves your hypothyroidism symptoms. Over time, you may also realize that your needs change, and switching your treatment may help resolve lingering symptoms. Here, read the stories of women with hypothyroidism sharing their experiences with thyroid hormone replacement drugs.

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Denise’s story

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Denise gained over 100 pounds, being diagnosed with hypothyroidism and depression.

“I started on Synthroid and antidepressants. The Synthroid didn’t work well and finally, after 10 years, I dumped my doctor and found one who would prescribe Armour. I did well enough to stop the antidepressant for good. The biggest struggle is that every time I switch doctors, they want to put me back on Synthroid. I have to explain everything so they let me stay on the meds and dose that keep me well.”

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Patricia’s and Gretchen’s success stories

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There are some truly encouraging stories. Says Patricia:

“After 40 years on various medications for hypothyroidism, I’ve been most stable on Synthroid and keeping fit and healthy.”

Gretchen shares her success story:

“I’ve only taken levothyroxine and I felt better right away. I was put on it the day I had my thyroid out. The dosage was adjusted a little and my levels are perfect.”

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The search can be frustrating

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Sally remains frustrated by her search for the right medication.

“I’ve been told I’m depressed. I have been so tired and unable to function. I can barely think some days and studying is a no go. I have been told my levels are normal and I’m on levothyroxine. I feel so tired and achy all the time, and I’m always freezing cold. My doctor told me not to read the internet!”

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Combination therapy works for many patients

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After radioactive iodine, Linda took Synthroid and Levoxyl.

“They left me with many symptoms. I have been using Tirosint now for two years and am happier. Possibly the gel-cap Tirosint is better absorbed? I also use some Cytomel with my Tirosint.”

Bonnie was diagnosed 10 years ago.

“Just two years ago, they added Cytomel to my Synthroid. Cytomel gave me my life back! I have higher energy and almost no pain, and exercise is working now!”

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Loyal Armour users

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Marilyn was on Synthroid since the early 1990s.

“I saw eight doctors over 20 years and not one did the right tests or gave me the correct treatment. I felt like the walking dead. I finally found my new doctor and he did the right tests and agreed to let me go on Armour. Thank God! I have my life back!”

Donna was on Armour for 41 years.

“About 15 years ago, I had a four-month stint on Synthroid because an endocrinologist talked me into it. Never again!”

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Fillers and dyes have an impact

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Mary-Ellen was on levothyroxine and developed a severe rash.

“After treatment, the rash came back. I learned I was allergic to dye in the pills. I’m still taking levothyroxine but the 50-mcg dye-free pill. And the rash is gone!”

After 35 years of not feeling well on levothyroxine, Cathy found the answer.

“It turns out I’m allergic to the filler or dyes. I did a lot of investigation and finally found Tirosint. It works great for me, and has no dyes or fillers.”

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Different brands work differently for each person

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Jackie was doing well on Levoxyl when her doctor switched her to Synthroid.

“Within four months my TSH was 132! I couldn’t move and I was in pain. It took months to figure it out, and I went back on Levoxyl.”

Denise was on Synthroid for 10 years.

“At one point, I crashed. I found out they had accidentally filled my prescription with generic. The doctor put me back on Synthroid and I was back to feeling well with a good energy level.”

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Julie’s treatment frustration

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Julie has been on levothyroxine for almost three decades.

“I feel like I’ve been a science experiment for the last 26 years, living three-month intervals of trial and error. The weight-loss-weight-gain rollercoaster, the hair loss, the mood imbalances, the insomnia, the total exhaustion, the dry skin, the thin and peeling nails, brain fog, slurring of words, and on and on. But my numbers are in the normal range. Normal for whom?”

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It doesn’t work if you don’t take the pill

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Amy realized that taking her thyroid pill every day as prescribed was essential.

“I was on levothyroxine and took my meds without understanding anything about hypothyroidism. I got complacent like I do with vitamins and when my TSH was checked, it was quite high again. I was still not understanding the importance of taking it every day and my dosage was increased several times. After lots of ups and downs I am finally functional.”

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Patience pays off

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Donna has been on levothyroxine for more than 20 years.

“I tried Armour with no success, but am now on levothyroxine plus increasing doses of slow-release T3. I have my cognitive function back, fewer aches and pains, the lump in my throat has shrunk, and my hair stopped falling out! It’s taken me 20 years, about $100,000, and at least 30 doctors to finally find one who knows what he’s doing!”

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Happy with natural desiccated thyroid

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Pat, 76, originally took Synthroid and initially did well.

“At some point, I was switched to levothyroxine and began having problems. I switched back to Synthroid and the problems resolved. About six years ago I realized it wasn’t working. No one would listen. I was exhausted, my hair was falling out, and my skin was dry. They told me to take antidepressants. Finally, a few years ago, a new endocrinologist put me on natural desiccated thyroid. In about three weeks I was feeling great.”

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Mimi feels young again

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Mimi asked to be tested for four years before her hypothyroidism diagnosis.

“The doctor put me on Synthroid. My body hurt like I had arthritis, especially in my feet. I found a functional medicine doctor and over 18 months we worked to find the medications that work well for me. Currently, I’m on levothyroxine and liothyronine. I feel like I did when my kids were young! No more pain, energy all day, and a clear head.”